Medicare for All – InsuranceNewsNet

More than 330,000 people in United States died during the pandemic because they were uninsured or underinsured. This grim statistic was reported this week by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health. On top of this staggering number of preventable deaths, in 2020 alone, our “fragmented and inefficient healthcare system” has cost the WE $459 billion more than if we had truly universal health care. The Yale team’s prescription for preparing for the next pandemic: “Medicare for All”.

“Our current healthcare system is dysfunctional. It’s extremely expensive and costly, and it’s cruel,” Vermont Independent Sen said. Bernie Sanders said while opening a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Medicare for All last month.

“The American people agree with me that health care is a human right, not a privilege, and that we must end the international embarrassment of our great country being the only great nation on earth that does not guarantee health care. health as a human right to all its people,” Sanders continued. “More than 70 million Americans today are either uninsured or underinsured. There are millions of people in our country who would like to go to the doctor, who need to go to the doctor, but who cannot afford to do so. It’s unacceptable, it’s un-American, and it can’t happen in the richest country in the world.”

Sanders introduced S.4204, the Medicare for All Act of 2022, with 14 Democratic senators as cosponsors. Similar legislation is also before the House of Representatives. Medicare for All would lower the eligibility age for the federal Medicare health insurance program from 65 at the time of birth.

Opponents of Medicare for All disparage it, calling it “government-run” health care. This review is wrong. In the UKfor example, the NHS, the National Health Service, is run by the government. The government owns all hospitals and clinics, and doctors, nurses and other staff are government employees. In the WEthe Veterans Administration and the Indian health service are run by the government, just like the NHS.

With Medicare for All, the government simply pays the bills as a “single payer,” saving huge amounts of money by removing health insurance companies from the equation. Hospitals, doctors’ offices and laboratories all remain unchanged, mostly as private or non-profit institutions, just as they are today. This is how our current health insurance system works for people over 65. Medicare for all would not change this; it simply extends the covered population to everyone.

Medicare for All would dismantle the bloated private insurance bureaucracy, saving hundreds of billions of dollars a year. During the budget hearing, committee chairman Sanders summed up, “The six largest health insurance companies in America last year made more than $60 billion for profit, led by United Health Group who did $24 billion in the midst of the pandemic in 2021. But it’s not just insurance company profits. The CEOs of 178 major healthcare companies have collectively made $3.2 billion of total compensation in 2020, up 31% compared to 2019. According to Axiosin 2020, the CEO of Cigna, David Cordanibrought home $79 million in compensation while people died.”

An analysis carried out by the Political Economy Research Institute, PERI, at UMass Amherst, includes a “just transition” for the nearly 900,000 people employed by the health insurance industry. The savings provided by a single-payer system could pay for a combination of early retirement and retraining, mitigating the impact on these workers.

Single-payer, or Medicare for All, makes sense in normal times, but we don’t in normal times. The global COVID-19 pandemic has ripped scabs from so many sectors of our society, exposing and exacerbating inequalities and a deadly lack of preparedness.

The Yale study puts real numbers into it, noting the disproportionate impact on poor and low-income communities and people of color. Universal health care would lead to a population that is healthier and more able to withstand the impacts of the next pandemic. Regular and preventive medical visits, the comfort and security of knowing that a necessary procedure or hospital visit will not lead to bankruptcy or increase personal debt, all contribute to greater resilience. Citing a Gallup poll, Yale researchers write, Due to apprehension about their ability to pay, 14% of WE adults reported that even if they had the two most common symptoms of COVID-19, fever and dry cough, they would still avoid seeking treatment.

Another lesson of the pandemic is that when one of us is exposed, we all are. Universal, effective and affordable health care makes us all stronger and safer. The easiest way to achieve this is Medicare for All.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!”, a daily international hour of TV/radio news broadcast on over 1,400 stations.

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About Alex S. Crone

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